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Via Ferrata in the Dolomites

Would you like to conquer he highest peaks of the Dolomites and be rewarded by the most amazing views? The Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site are the perfect area for great climbing excursions. They offer great climbs and wonderful via ferrata routes with different difficulty levels. A via ferrata, literally an “iron path”, is an equipped climbing route equipped with chains, cables, ladders and other fixed anchor points. The Dolomites of Sesto, in the South of Alta Pusteria and are the ideal climbing destination for every mountain enthusiast.

Climbing and hiking to step back in time

During WWI the Dolomites were venue for several battles between Italian and Austrian troops. Still today traces of these battles are visible in these mountains. Many via ferrata routes, like the ones around Monte Piano, Monte Paterno, Cima Undici and Croda Rossa were built were built and used by soldiers during the war.

Via ferrata in the Sesto Dolomites

Cima Undici and Croda Rossa were built were built and used by soldiers during the war.

The Dolomites of Sesto are situated in the South of Alta Pusteria. The area features many different rock formations. Most via ferrata climbs were built and used by soldiers during WWI. The best via ferrata routes are situated right on the front of Monte Piano, Monte Paterno, Cima Undici and Croda Rossa.


Torre di Toblin, 2617 m 

The small tower of Torre di Toblin was a military position during the 1st World War, where soldiers made their duty the whole year. The route is secured by fixed ropes and ladders and is sometimes a little bit exposed. From the top you will be rewarded by a fantastic view of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Descent on rocky steps along the north-east side.

Access: Park at the Rifugio Auronzo (2320 m). Follow the old military road to the Forcella Lavaredo (2454 m) and continue on the wide gravel path to the Locatelli Mountain Hut/Dreizinnenhütte (2405 m). The start of the climb is located right behind the hut at the foot of the north face (2510 m).

Via ferrata: It is a short, very steep and exposed via ferrata, equipped with 17 ladders. Follow the rocky steps and reach the ladders. Be careful, some parts are exposed. On your way up you will see some old rotten wood ladders from WWI. The summit was a main military position of the Austrian army during the war. Continue up the 100 m high chimneys and reach the final airy ladder, which leads to the narrow summit (2617 m).

Descent: Walk from the summit across the north-east side. The descent features some unsecured exposed sections, partly easy climbing, partly exposed. The descent is mostly well secured with steel ropes and takes you to the Locatelli mountain hut in 30-45 minutes. From there walk back along the same path to Forcella Paterno (2454 m) and then to the Auronzo mountain hut (2320 m).

Difficulty level: Total ascent: 390 m; total descent: 390 m;

walking time: approx. 4,5 hrs.


Strada degli Alpini

The via ferrata Strada degli Alpini is probably the most famous testimony of war in this area and is a very popular fixed-rope route. It was used by the soldiers as connection between the saddle of Forcella Giralba and Passo Sentinella. This via ferrata is not particularly difficult but can be dangerous in spring because of snow between Forcella Sentinella and Forcella Undici.  

Access: From the Carducci mountain hut (2297 m)
walk along the gravel path, which leads to the wide saddle of Forcella Giralba (2431 m). Follow the trail which leads to the right (no. 101). Cross a series of long and vertical waterfalls, climb up a scree to the “Cengia della Salvezza”  and reach the Strada degli Alpini (2380 m). Walking time to this point: approx. 1 hr.

Via ferrata: Walk along a narrow, airy ridge, equipped with wires around the Mitria tower. The route leads under a rocky roof through an impressing and glooming throat. Cross the ice slope that forms the bottom and reach a beautiful gorge. Follow the wires around the base of Torre Undici to the wide terrace that wraps around the flank of Cima Undici (2620 m). The new cable wires (1992) along the route lead to the edge on the north side of Cima Undici (in spring be careful in case of snow!).

Descent: Descent on the wide scree gully and reach the bottom of the debris of Vallon della Sentinella. (2717m). From here you can enjoy beautiful views of the Dolomites. Walk down the cliffs bordering the Costoni di Croda Rossa and reach the picturesque grassy basin Alpe Anderta (1958 m). Take the valley road no. 124 to Campo Fiscalino.

Difficulty level: Total ascent: 490 m; total descent: 1200 m;

walking time: approx. 5 hrs.

Klettersteig BonacossaKlettersteig Paternkofel mit Blick auf die Drei ZinnenKlettersteig zum Gipfelkreuz der RotwandspitzPisciadu Klettersteig in den Dolomiten


The Fanes

The Fanes is the long and steep mountain ridge on the east-side of the Travenanzes valley. It rises next to the Monte Vallon Bianco in the north-east, the Furcia Rossa, Monte Castello, Monte Cavallo and the Fanes peak in the south and the Grande Lagazuoi. During WWI this part of the Dolomites was venue of several battles between Italian and Austrian troops. Today these old paths show the remains of the war and are very popular by hikers as well as climbers. The most famous via ferrata in this area is the Tomaselli, a short but very technical climb. 


Punta Fanes Sud, 2980 m

The towering peak on the narrow ridge of the Grande Lagazuoi is the Punta Fanes Sud. It is one of the most impressing mountain formations of the Dolomites and a very popular destination for climbing enthusiasts. The via ferrata to Punta Fanes Sud is easily accessible from the Falzarego Pass. ay these old paths show the remains of the war and are very popular by hikers as well as climbers. The most famous via ferrata in this area is the Tomaselli, a short but very technical climb. 


Via ferrata Tomaselli

The Tomaselli is one of the most worthwhile via ferrata routes in the Dolomites. It is an exposed but entirely equipped route up to the SW face of Punta Fanes. The via ferrata starts near the Bivacco Della Chiesa. The ascend just after the start of the Tomaselli is already a valid ability test for the harder via ferrata to come.

Details: This via ferrata is one of the most difficult and steep equipped routes in the Dolomites; it is equipped only with twin-cables which lead up through vertical exposed walls. It is suitable only for experts and well trained climbers and should be done only with good weather conditions.

Access: Drive to the Falzarego Pass (2117 m, parking at the cable car valley station). Take the cable car to the Lagazuoi mountain station (2752 m). Descent along the path to Forcella Lagazuoi and then follow path no. 20B to Forcella Travenanzes (2507m). Traverse beneath the NW crest of Lagazuoi Grande and ascend to Forcella Grande (2665m) to reach the Bivacco Della Chiesa, located near the start of the via ferrata (2660m).

Via ferrata: The ferrata starts with a famous traverse leftwards, which is immediately strenuous and exposed. It continues up over vertical exposed walls towards the central section of the face. Follow the wire rope to reach the terrace. From there you have to climb a series of steep walls until you reach the crest. The final part is very exposed and leads to the summit of Punta Fanes Sud (2980 m).

Descent: Cable wires lead from the peak, initially steep route down the NE face. Once at Selletta di Fanes (2380 m)
continue down the scree path to reach Gasser de Pot from where path no. 20B leads to Forcella Travenanzes. Path no. 401 then leads to the Falzarego Pass (2117m).

Difficulty level: Total ascent: 470 m; total descent: 860 m;

walking time: approx. 5 hrs.


The Tofana Group

The Tofana mountain range rises above the beautiful valley and the picturesque village of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Its peaks, the Tofana di Mezzo and the Tofana di Dentro reach up to 3000m. Most of the Via Ferrata climbs in this area were used by soldiers during WWI. 


Punta Anna, 2731 m – Doss de Tofana, 2840 m

Punta Anna lies on the south of Tofana di Mezzo. It has a steep edge and a very airy, quiet narrow ridge.  Doss de Tofana is not a peak but a rocky terrace between the towering Pomedes peaks. At the bottom on the Forcella Ra Valles lies the middle station of the Tofana cable car. It is a popular skiing and ski touring destination during winter.


Via Ferrata Giuseppe Olivieri

Via Ferrata Giuseppe Olivieri is a challenging and exposed via ferrata up the vertical southern wall of Punta Anna. It is one of the most interesting and attractive via ferrata routes in the Dolomites. The view from the top is just amazing! The descent follows the Sentiero Olivieri path to Doss de Tofana and to the mountain huts Rifugio Pomedes and Rifugio Duca d’Aosta.

Access: Rifugio Duca d’ Aosta mountain hut (2098m)   

Difficulty: Total ascent: 740 m; total descent: 740 m; 
walking time: approx. 4 hrs.

Getting there: from the road to Passo Falzarego, turn onto a small road after Pocol. Follow the signs to Rifugio Duca d’Aosta (2098 m) and take the chairlift to Rifugio Pomedes (2303m).

Access: Follow the trail leading past the chairlift, hike up scree and steep ground until you reach the start of the wires below the cliffs (2450 m).

Via ferrata: The route starts off by climbing up and traversing Punta Anna, angling over to catch the crest of the ridge (2530 m).
The cable wire and some unprotected sections lead along a very steep and exposed wall and traverses the south-west wall. Continue to climb and reach the peak of Punta Anna (2731 m).  

Continue to Doss de Tofana: Along the ridge towards north to reach the third towering Pomedes Peak (note the turn off to Rifugio Cantore mountain hut). Turn to the right over rocky steps to a gully (2780 m). The exposed and not secured section leads up behind Doss de Tofana (2840 m). From here you can take the ferrata Gianni Aglio to Tofana di Mezzo.

Descent along the path Giuseppe Olivieri: Descent along the scree slope to the middle station Ra Valles which leads to the trail Sentiero Olivieri (2600 m). The trail leads down scree ground to Rifugio Pomedes and to Rifugio Duca d’Aosta (2098 m). 


The Cristallo Group

The impressive Cristallo Group rises up high above the picturesque mountain village of Cortina d’Ampezzo. The imposing mountain group features peaks rising up to 3000 m. The area was the venue of many battles during WWI. Most via ferrata routes were built and used during the war by soldiers: the via ferrata Marino Bianchi and the via ferrata Ivano Dibona lead up to the peaks of the Cristallo. 


Cristallo di Mezzo, 3154 m

The Cristallo di Mezzo is one of the smaller ridges of the majestic Cristallo mountain range. The peak can be reached climbing up a short, not very technical via ferrata. The views from the top are unique and will reward every climber’s fatigue.


Via Ferrata Marino Bianchi

The via ferrata Marino Bianchi was built and used during the war by soldiers. It is a short but panoramic itinerary, which follows the crest and leads up to Cristallo di Mezzo. After reaching the starting point by chairlift on the Forcella Staunies you find the first cables which lead up to the summit.  

Difficulty/Dangers: Equipped with cables and ladders, this via ferrata is very popular and not particularly difficult. In spring the snow can make the climb dangerous.  

Starting point: Staunies gondola mountain station (2919 m)

Access: From Cortina d’ Ampezzo follow the road to Passo Tre Croci to the restaurant Capanna Rio Gere, valley station of the chairlift Son Forca (1698 m). Take the chairlift to Rifugio Son Forca (2215m) and then the gondola to Forcella Staunies (2919 m)

Via ferrata: The first cables behind the mountain hut mark the start of the climb. The equipped path leads along the ridge and through a narrow gully. The first ladder leads up a steep and exposed section to a terrace. After a traverse it descents slightly to a narrow gully. The environment is harsh and attention is required due to the altitude (snow may be found). The ladders lead along a vertical section to the hardest part of the via ferrata: a smooth overhanging crack. This demands a careful ascent up the fixed cable. The route continues more easily along the crest to the top of  Cristallo di Mezzo (3154 m).


Descent: Descent along the line of ascent to Rifugio Lorenzi (2963 m)

Difficulty: Total ascent: 240 m; total descent: 240 m;

walking time: 3,30 hrs.